A Pandemic Devotion

Considerations of care for self and others, now and always.

I was invited to give a 10 minute message in our weekly church-community Zoom gathering. Here it is. I highlighted key points and emailed this very blog link to the entire fellowship so as to keep the live presentation brief. And as always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

A) Self-care isn’t self-medicating with what scripture clearly calls “sin” – nor is it hiding, fully cutting yourself off from neighbors even in pandemic-time.

But first “Love your neighbor AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF” said Jesus:

A VERY FEW IDEAS FOR PRACTICAL SELF-CARE and do not be afraid to try NEW to move beyond OLD (nature, depression, cloud-life which ain’t life-giving to you anyway)

-A cup of coffee or tea w. a good book (perhaps THE Good Book)
-A quiet time of prayer
-A brief garden walk
-A bit of art therapy with drawing, painting, music, photography
-A long, hot bath
-10-15 minutes sitting in the sunshine
-A long look at National Geographic, Mother Earth News or something fun/interesting to you online
-Physical exercise (I use all low-impact: stretch-bands, dumb bells, steps by laundry room near our elevator)
-An actual study of an issue of interest to you, documentary, nation or custom
-A craft of some sort, “making” something, maybe choosing a craft you never thought of trying before!

B) Stress, personal pain is often best answered with the therapy of serving others.

“I have little value, I constantly get it wrong.” Self-condemned? Share what you have with others – Jesus: “MORE Blessed to give than receive…” -Acts 20.35 Jesus: “For God so loved that He gave…”

2 Cor. 8.12 “If there first be a willing mind… it is ACCEPTED according to what a person has, not according to what they do not have.” Paul is writing about an offering collected to ease and meet needs of others.
CONTEXT:
12 For if the readiness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have. 13 For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality— 14 at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance also may become a supply for your need, that there may be equality; 15 as it is written, “He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little had no lack.”

1 Cor. 13.4a Love is patient, love is kind

Gal. 5: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

“COMMUNITY IS… A REFLECTION OF GOD IN US”
Matt can’t remember a relationship in his life where he hasn’t failed, in one way or another, to live up to the ideal expectations of community. Despite that, Matt has some deep connections with people that he loves very much. And he isn’t alone. We hurt people we are in community with all the time. It is in our sinful nature to fail, to let down, and to hurt others—not always on purpose but as a result of sin in our lives. Yet we all keep entering into community again and again. The hurt doesn’t stop us, because we keep loving others and hoping for everything that community is and can be.

Why do we enter into community? Because God did, and we are created in his image. God loves us so much that he sent his Son, Jesus, who laid down his own life for us in order to re-enter community with us, his creation. And we love others so much that we enter into community again and again with love and with the hope of something greater. Community is a reflection of God’s love living in us. It’s what we were created to be.”
-Excerpt from May 6 (2020) month-long series on Community by Bret Lamsma: https://today.reframemedia.com/devotions/community-is-a-reflection-of-god-in-us#

So, ask your neighbor “How are you doing?” and really mean it. Wait, be patient and kind, focused, listening to what they say. Encouraging, serving one another, if they’re even slightly open ask them about prayer, the Word, hobbies (as per my list above and/or others) because they are under stress and struggle just like you, sometimes more.

What can you cook for them, make for them, at least offer them? Hey, popcorn (typical, sweet, hot, whatever) is cheap, simple and might be self AND other’s therapy for yer tastebuds 🙂 Offerings reflect love just as God offers us Good News, His Son, and has “richly given us all things to enjoy”.

Could you offer to phone, text, email, meet up via social media, Facebook Chat or Zoom? You can certainly pray for them regularly to help ease their burden. Community. Love. Shared Grace!!

A PERSONAL PRAYER
“Open the eyes of my heart Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I need to see You
Help me see Your reflection in my world
Help me to reflect You toward others.
In Jesus Name, Amen.

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